British Gas owner Centrica warns of rising costs, fuelling fears of future price hikes.
It said that higher costs are set to add £50 to the cost of supplying the average household’s energy this year. The costs include wholesale gas prices, which are set to be 15% higher next winter, transport and distribution. Analysts predict that cost hikes will inevitably be passed on to consumers.
You can ensure you are on the cheapest energy tariff for you using Which? Switch.
Which?’s view on energy bills
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘This is depressingly bad news for hard-pressed households and for the economy. Rising energy bills are people’s biggest financial worry so the prospect of further hikes is a real blow. British Gas should do all it can to keep price rises under control and help their customers make sure they are on the cheapest tariff for them.
Consumers are facing potentially devastating hikes over the next winter so suppliers will really need to justify any further increases. This is more evidence that the government needs to fundamentally reform the energy system to protect consumers.
We urge everyone to check they are on the best deal for them because they could save money by switching. Our The Big Switch campaign will offer a better deal on energy bills for more than 200,000 people, and they can also avoid the worry of further price hikes over the next year because we are showing them the best fixed rate deals which will be guaranteed for a minimum of 12 months.’
British Gas energy bills
British Gas increased gas bills by 18% and electricity bills by 16% last August. Though it dropped the cost of its standard electricity tariff by 5% in January in a round of price reductions by the major suppliers, this still left household budgets feeling the squeeze.
The poor April weather boosted gas consumption, which was 1% higher than a year ago, for the first four months of the year. Electricity consumption was down 3%.
Centrica’s shares were up 1% after it said it was trading in line with expectations.
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